Vanilla Rose Valentine Cake Recipe

Since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I thought I’d share with you a story of love. This is a short story about love and birth, family and new life, and a couple of pounds of confectioner’s sugar. My little sister is nearing the end of her second pregnancy and will soon be bringing a tiny girl child into the world.


Beyond ecstatic at the impending arrival and having the tendency to share the love for my family through the food that I cook, I decided to bake a “Welcome to the World” cake for my sister and future-niece.

Having recently acquired a variety of vanilla beans and floral extracts, I decided to play in the kitchen and make something special for my sis. Rose has always been an elusive and intriguing flavor for me, and I have enjoyed it in the Middle Eastern dishes I have tried in the past. So, I dug out the collection of recipes given to me by a certified pastry chef, started doing conversion and modification, and set to work.

As I began working with dried culinary roses in the kitchen, I found my mind wandering to the Rose Quail scene in that fabulous Mexican movie, Like Water For Chocolate. It’s uncharacteristic for me to pay attention to – much less like – romantic movies, and I simply will not waste my time on the crap that is spat out of the loins of Hollywood. But there are a handful of romantic films that tug at me, they are almost always foreign, and Like Water For Chocolate has long been a favorite.

In one particular scene of this film, the main character, Tita, begins preparing a dish with rose petals and quails, and all of the heartache she feels for her unrequited love is somehow transferred into the dish. When served to the extended family, the strangest and most miraculous thing happens – everyone who consumes her dish suddenly finds themselves overwhelmed with memories of their own heartaches and lost loves, passions, and desires. This scene is able to deliver two very strong messages with the power of a sucker punch; that love is stronger than any bond, and that food has transformative powers.

So I cheerfully candied rose petals and began baking a cake, all the while thinking about my glowing, rotund sister and the little life within her. I began sending all kinds of  “come out and play” messages for that wee new life into the ingredients I was working with. The cake turned out tasty and I can safely say that not one person who consumed it went into labor. So much for my delusions of being able to make shit happen by whispering mojo into a mixing bowl.


For this recipe, I used whole Madagascar vanilla beans, culinary rose petals, rose extract and rosewater. Keep in mind when cooking with flowers of any kind that it is important to know what can be consumed and what cannot, and some flowers are edible while others can be toxic. It is also important to be sure you are working with culinary flowers, as the ones for sale in markets and florist shops are often treated with unsavory chemicals.


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Vanilla Rose Valentine Cake
A moist white cake scented with rose and flavored with fresh Madagascar vanilla bean.
  1. soak rose petals in simmering simple syrup
  2. drain petals, spread on parchment-lined baking sheet
  3. sprinkle with sugar
  4. bake on low until dry, turning occasionally
  5. In mixer, combine sugar, salt and shortening until whipped smooth
  6. Sift cake flour, milk powder, baking powder together and add slowly to mixer on low speed
  7. Add 3/4 c. water
  8. Scrape and continue to mix
  9. Combine egg whites and 4 oz. water with rose water, rose extract, add to cake batter -still mixing
  10. Add vanilla bean scrapings
  11. Line 2 spring form pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray
  12. Pour batter into pans
  13. Cook in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown and toothpick tests clean
  14. Cool on racks stack, trim and frost with rose buttercream frosting
  15. Sprinkle candied rose petals in between cake layers and on top of cake
Recipe Notes

By Restaurant Widow

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